I'm not going to venture an opinion on whether Olmert should stay in office. My bet, though, is that he will stay, and that even if he is replaced, the coalition will continue in roughly its present Kadima-centered form. Whatever expectation of a political earthquake the war may have created, and whatever differences the coalition members have over where to go from here, their survival instincts and vested interests will be a powerful force against radical change. This isn't last year where much of the ruling coalition hoped to gain from a radical realignment; this time around, the overwhelming concern is to avoid losing, and that will make all the difference.I don't much faith in Israeli politicians no matter which party they're from these days, but I always believe that things could be worse.
There are three potential ways the current government can be replaced. The first, and most extreme, is a collapse of the government followed by dissolution of the Knesset and a general election. The second involves the right-religious bloc plus a sufficient number of Kadima defectors invoking the "rule of 61" - the provision in the Basic Law: The Government that allows 61 MKs to install a new prime minister - and put either Netanyahu or Lieberman in the premier's chair. The third is a palace coup, in which a senior Kadima figure takes over from Olmert with or without a reshuffle of the coalition.